Jason Marquis thriving for Padres after being released by Twins with 8.47 ERA

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Jason Marquis was about as bad as a pitcher can be for the Twins, posting an 8.47 ERA with more walks than strikeouts and a .371 opponents’ batting average in 34 innings.

Minnesota released him six weeks into a $3 million contract and Marquis signed a minor-league deal with the Padres, reported to Double-A for one start, and then joined San Diego’s rotation in what looked like a desperation move.

So naturally he’s thrown three consecutive Quality Starts for the Padres, the latest of which included 10 strikeouts in seven innings of two-run ball against the Rangers and their AL-leading offense last night. Marquis had a grand total of 12 strikeouts in seven starts for the Twins.

Marquis and his agent made a good choice, because in addition to switching from the AL to the NL calling the majors’ most pitcher-friendly ballpark home gives him the best chance to be useful for the Padres. That might explain him being a somewhat decent back-of-the-rotation starter again, but how in the world does he go from a total mess to shutting down one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball while racking up double-digit strikeouts for the first time since 2001?

If anyone has an answer to that question you can find me talking to my Al Newman bobblehead doll while crying into my Homer Hanky.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.